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Perry Baker became the first two-time winner of World Rugby’s Men’s Sevens Player of the Year Award when his name was called at World Rugby’s annual awards ceremony in Monaco Sunday. He was selected over fellow finalists Ben O’Donnell of Australia and Fiji’s Jerry Tuwai
Baker was the first American to ever receive the award in 2017, having led the 2016/2017 HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series in tries. Baker struggled through injury woes during the 2017/2018 campaign, but he still managed 37 tries in just 30 matches, good for fifth in the world.
Baker wasn’t in attendance to accept the award, as he is with Team USA in Dubai ahead of Friday’s season opener, but he did pre-record his acceptance speech.
“It’s an honor to be mentioned with the other two great guys, Ben O’Donnell and Jerry Tuwai. Thank you guys so much for your entertainment. You guys put your best foot forward and you guys bring the best out of every other player, too, so hats off to you guys,” he said.
“I couldn’t be here without my teammates. Thank you guys so much for believing in me and trusting me and vice versa. It’s a team game, so without those guys this wouldn’t be possible. To my family and friends, thank you for believing in me and pushing me.”
The highlight of the year for both Baker and the Eagles was winning gold on home soil for the first time ever. He helped deliver the title with a scintillating 99-meter try against Fiji which made Sports Center’s Top 10.